Chores and Allowance for 4-6 Year Olds?

Updated on March 06, 2014
M.S. asks from Chicago, IL
16 answers


I would like to make a chore chart for my 4 and 6 year old but I am torn on the allowance part. Growing up we had daily and weekly chores but we did not get allowance. If we wanted money to buy something - my mom would come up with an extra chore for us to earn money. We lived in the south so this usually involved yard work (I live in a city so it would be harder for me to think of extra chores - our house is not that big). I like the idea of having to do things around the house without receiving allowance because I think you should have to contribute to the home without reward. On the other hand - I would like my kids to start receiving, saving, giving, spending money - I know they are young but they think we can just buy whatever. (This is really more for my 6 year old but my 4 year old has to do everything my 6 year old does. :))

I am just curious what other mom's do and what their "system" is.

Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the great ideas! You gave me a lot to think about and a lot of great suggestions. I think I gave the impression that my kids currently don't do any chores - they do many of the things people gave as suggestions (daily and weekly). I just wanted to put it in a chart to take some of the nagging out of it. Thanks again! It was very helpful!

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answers from New York on

Agree with you. No allowance. You are part of the family and work together. If they want to earn money, then pick some things that are not the daily chores.



answers from St. Louis on

I have a 6.5 and 4.5 year old and while we do not do specific tasks and do not give any allowance (for now), there are things they are expected to do (and reminded to do) because they are a part of the family. This includes helping set or clear the table or make dinner (not every night but when we ask). They always have to clear their own plates, too. Cleaning up toys in the living room and their room daily and their playroom when I ask. Helping fold and distribute clothes to the proper rooms, getting mail, vacuuming, mopping and window washing. Usually I try to make it fun! There are times when I will offer to pay them if they do something, but usually any money they get is from Christmas, birthdays or grandparents. My parents will pay them to help out at their house - picking up dog poop, watering plants and pulling weeds. If they save money, I will usually match what they save to buy something.

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answers from Honolulu on

We do allowance but it is NOT on a regular basis and it is NOT tied to chores or grades etc. It is based on budget.
SINCE my kids were toddlers, we began teaching them about money/spending/saving/how to discern prices in stores/differences between necessity and wants and fun purchases/donating/earning/budgeting, etc.
They are now 7 and 11, and they are very capable for their ages, at discerning purchases or saving etc. and earning things. They even sold some of their stuff on Craig's list, to "earn" money for their outgrown things. We taught them all about the process on Craig's list. And they each have their own savings accounts. From before they were this age.

My kids do chores no matter what.
It is not connected to their allowance.

Allowance is half of the child's age.
And it can be weekly or monthly or every 2 weeks.
It is up to us, and per budget.
My kids know that.
They are not greedy about it at all.
They don't expect it.
They don't have "gimme gimme" attitudes.
Things like this are taught... from toddlerhood. That is what we did.

My son has quite a bit of money saved up...which took him about 1 year. It was a goal of his. He was going to buy something with it. But on his own, when we asked him when he was going to buy it (since he has enough saved up for it)... he said "I don't know, I don't think I'm ready for it yet..." ON his own, he knew himself and about using his money in reflection for himself and per his age/maturity etc. The object he wanted to buy, was an iTouch. HIS own. He on his own, is not just being spendy and buying stuff. He gauges, himself.
And that is good.
He has not bought it yet. Or he may never. Because as he said "I am not ready for it yet...." (we on the other hand, would allow him to have an iTouch and buy it, we gave him permission for his purchase idea). But he is mature enough, to judge a purchase.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Chores-yes. Allowance-no.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

don't tie the allowance into the chores. chores are part of being in the family and living in the home. so give them chores. but allowance is given as it is part of growing up. that way they can't say fine I don't want allowance this week I'm not doing chores. we tied chores to privileges. if you don't do your chores you don't watch tv, play video games, use the phone etc.
the amount of allowance the kids got was $1 per grade level so 1st grader got $1 ith grade $8 when they hit highschool they got $10 a week til they got a job and were expected to get a job at 16.

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answers from Chicago on

Chores is a good thing, on many levels. Thank you for not doing eveything for them! Belive me it goes very far.

I do not hink allowance came into play until I was older.

If you want ideas for extra chores- Things like washing down the bottom cabinets, wiping down a wall, Cleaning out the fridge, Helping to reorganize a closet or the toys. THese are not weekly type of chores. But more on the spring/winter cleaning.

Daily- bring dishes to the kitchen ( maye load dishwasher), Help with dinner, washing a floor, making a bed. Help fold laundry. put clothes away.

Instead of a montetary rewoard for each chore, perhaps X chore equals Y star/smiley.. XX smiley/star equals X repward which can be a book, movie, t-shirt etc.. something they want. THey get to pick it. IE wahsing the floor might equal 2 stars. 20 stars equals a book /toy under $10.00 and maybe 40 starts will equal toy/book $ 20.00 .. now depending on how many chores they do that week /month and the value of start/smiles that they earn.



answers from Chicago on

We just give an allowance, .50 per year.

The kids then have household tasks -just because. They are responsible for their messes and things, I.e. Picking up, putting away clothes, etc. And then they have general things, like setting the table, sweeping crumbs. They do these things because they need to be done, and because mommy needs help. End of story. My 4 year old is testing the system, but it's worked rather well for a good 6-8 months for us now.

Their allowance is not tied to anything. Like household tasks, as a member of the household, you have access to money.



answers from Dallas on

We don't do allowance. Chores are just part of being in our family. We all have things we have to do to keep the household running. My kids are 5 and 8. We started with simple chores around age 3.

If there is something special they want to buy, they can use their birthday/christmas money, which encourages them to save for special items. My son gets hired to help collect mail for our neighbors when they go out of town (usually $5 per week).

If you want to do allowance, do allowance to teach the value of money. I think money for chores at these young ages teaches them an expectation of doing to get something. I don't want to hear my five year old say "Well I will do it if you....". Now when they are older,and doing more difficult tasks, I will reconsider my stance for sure. In a few years, I hope they understand, that work has to be done whether or not you are getting paid for it.



answers from Beaumont on

We have chores because we all contribute to our home and family. They can "earn" extra money from a list of extras. They then "budget" it into saving, giving, church and "future car" money. They are 12 and 14 now and can handle their money better than many adults.



answers from New York on

you can certainly separate the three concepts.
1. allowance.
2. household responsibilities/ chores
3. extra earning opportunities.

at 4-6 I think kids could be capable of the following-
making beds
putting away and possibly doing laundry
setting/ clearing the table
sweeping/ mopping
wiping doorknobs, light plates, baseboards
cleaning bathroom surfaces
scrubbing grout
cleaning windows
light pet care
putting away groceries
loading/ unloading a dishwasher
scrubbing vegetables/ prepping vegetables.
plant care
assisting a neighbor

These are the first things which come to mind. To the extent possible, be sure that their houshold extras don't constitute make work, or busy work, but actually lighten your load.

F. B.

PS- I've had my 3 year old undertake all of these jobs. Some require more assitance supervision than others, but right now, he is still very teacheable and glad to help so I am happy to spend the extra time to allow him to get these things done.



answers from Hartford on

My kids do choresno matter what. They take turns doing the dishes, they set the table, clean up after themselves, and mke surre everything is neat. They do not get money from this. If they want extera money they get extera chores. Some times they will clean the bathroom, or they will mop the floor, etc. I know for a 6 year old he wont be able to do these specific chores, but he can rince his dishes off after supper, he can clear the table, he can vacuum the living room floor, there are plenty of chores a 6 yr old can do even if you do live in a small house. I hope this helped:)



answers from Detroit on

I agree with the 'extras.' Some chores should be expected as part of their reponsibility to the household without any allowance. Then give them a list of 'extra' stuff they can do to actually earn money.



answers from Seattle on

My 6 year old gets $2 a week for allowance. We give her the allowance to tech her about money and saving. She can spend it however she likes, but we no longer buy her toys (other than for Bday and Christmas) and make her save up for what she wants.
Her allowance is not tied to chores.

We also do chores but I do not feel that's it's right to pay for them.
IMO chores are part of our regular household work that everyone has to help out with. For us chores that she helps with are: cleaning up after herself and her room (this is a work in progress), help fold laundry (at 6 she can match up the socks and fold a few items reasonably well), put away her own laundry into her dresser, help unload the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen ...

Works well for us.
Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

I think some chores AND a small allowance are good but to be kept separate.
All members of the household should have to contribute but I feel the ability to earn extra money for things they want teaches them to work for & save for things they want.
At some point they will have to go out into the world & work for a living to provide for their housing, fun, vacations etc. So allowance for extra things can help foster this.

So for normal household contributions:
-all kids should take their plates to the sink. Most ages can do this.
-put your toys away
-hang up your coat
-pick up your blocks, dolls etc.
-take your folded clothes to your room (poss have them fold their own
-help put groceries away
-wipe down bathroom sink (more for the 6 yr old)
-6 yr old can help vacuum
-my then 4 yr old used to help dust & loved it
-tidy up their own rooms
-fold towels

Extra chores can include but not be limited to:
-help wash the car
-help with recycling
-assist in outdoor things (clearing off back deck, watering flowers/plants,
help organize garage etc.)
-organize book shelf
You get the idea. These are extras. Not the normal of what it takes to run
the household day in and day out. Anything extra you can think of that
fosters work/salary/saving for a future wanted item etc.
This becomes especially important for teens when they want to go to the
mall with their friends, see movies, gas money when they start driving etc.



answers from Los Angeles on

In our family we have “responsibilities” we don’t have chores. As a family it is our “responsibility” to ensure our home is clean and safe. That means EVERYONE does everything. We prepare meals together, we do dishes together, we clean house together. DAILY we do a 10 minute tidy every day – we put on 3 - 4 really fun fast songs, we set the time and we each pick a space to “clean” – cupboards, walls, floors, sweeping, dusting, clean out the fridge – whatever – then we just do it – but only for 10 mins. It is fun, fast and every day we get 40 mins of house work in (I have a family of 4). No more struggling to keep the house clean.

On the first of the month the 13 year old receives $200 and the 10 year old gets $100. 25% goes to rent, yes, they both pay rent
25% is kept in cash for necessities – toothpaste, deodorant, clothing, stuff they “need” – I pay for their food (unless they are going out with a group of friends – that comes from them)
10% goes to pay me for their sponsored sister (through World Vision)
10% goes toward education – books, school trips etc.
10% for Long Term Savings – for example my older daughter was saving for a trip with her Teen Group – she saved $800!
10% for Financial Freedom – every month they give me 10% of their income to invest.
10% Play – they can spend it on whatever they want – I can say NOTHING about it.

This teaches them responsibility for their actions and their own money. My 10 year old came home from “hanging at the mall” with her friend and her mom with a bag of new socks. I gave her a funny look and she said, “mom, they were in the clearance bin, they were only $5. 2 months ago when I bought this same pack it was $9! I am going to put them in my closet for school”. Now that was a proud mommy moment!



answers from Washington DC on

My kids get allowance into their savings accounts. We are going to start taking additional money out for them to have cash on them as well...but a minimal amount. They know if they want something while we are out, it is easy to transfer the money, so it's like they always have it on them. But cash in hand would be good for them to learn as well.

Their allowance isn't tied to chores at all. If they want something extra, they normally offer up a chore or something. Or sometimes they just get it, because they are pretty awesome kids :).

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